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Village: Whale's Tale Can Keep Current Use, But With Some Tough Restrictions

Outdoor music, seating, and operation hours reined in under amended code passed on Tuesday.

now has stringent restrictions on outdoor music and seating, according to the amended marine business district code passed by the on Tuesday, written in response to grievances by neighboring Milland Drive residents who have long complained of noise continuing throughout the night. Trustee Tom Kehoe, whose business supplies seafood to Whale's Tale, recused himself from the vote.

"It's been our intention to make this as strong as possible and still make everyone happy," said Trustee Henry Tobin.

According to the code, outdoor music will only be permitted four times a year for special events and must end at 8 p.m. Each event requires prior approval by the zoning board. Unamplified indoor music is allowed, but only with the doors and windows shut, and must end at 9 p.m. Trustee Tobin said Whale's Tale is the first restaurant in the village to have such restrictions on indoor music.

Village Attorney James Matthews agreed to include a provision in the code that no alcohol be consumed in the waiting area after recommendations from residents present at the hearing. Northport police officers will be able to write summonses for violations of the code, with a punishment of up to 15 years jail time after three violations.

Trustee Tobin said the Whale's Tale's liquor license is on hold, to which some residents scoffed, replying that they never should have been issued a liquor license in the first place since they were violating the 1988 covenants permitting only a 20-seat snack bar with no alcohol.

The illegality of Whales Tale's current use was acknowledged in the legislation, reading: The restaurant known as Whale's Tale at Brittania Marina is not a lawful conforming use or a use that has been authorized by covenants and restrictions that restrict uses by Brittania Marina or by any decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Betty Koerner said she'd like to see the old covenants upheld. "Don't go mending the laws for people who've broken them," she said, adding that the restaurant brings increased pollution by intensified usage. "...If the businesses don't make it, that's their problem. Let it turn back to a beautiful residential village."

"The 1988 covenants placed on Brittania go with the land," added Milland Drive resident Richard Thury. "The residents at that time fought for these covenants, they are not to be taken lightly," he said.

Lloyd Harbor resident Jeff Bartels, a boat mechanic and eco-activist who calls himself "Bird Dog," disapproved of a restaurant being anywhere near a boat yard and used the old Jacobsen Shipyard in Oyster Bay, once a major commercial boat building operation, to illustrate the propensity of toxic chemicals which could contaminate the food. "You need to protect your constituents," he said, and received a round of applause.

Trustee Kehoe called the comparison "disingenuous."

Resident Pam Shields disapproved of Whale's Tale as well as Brittania and handed data sheets to the board from a 2008 study on toxic algae blooms in Northport Harbor. She pointed out that concentrations are highest around Brittania, and said a restaurant only adds to the pollution. Trustee Tobin replied that the cause could be a number of things, such as an NYS outflow pump from a nearby sump.

The Board voted against a SEQR environmental impact assessment of the area. The amended code governing the marine business district will go into effect immediately upon filing with the office of the secretary of state.

Louise January 21, 2012 at 01:42 PM
I'm not clear on one thing. The residents protested outdoor music and general noise arising from people dining outdoors. They won concessions, and good for them. However, why don't they protest the racket produced by the marina from spring through fall? I live on the hill overlooking the marina and I can hear rumbling from marine engines running almost every day, clanking from work being done on boats, etc. Why no protest about those sounds? I agree that Whale's Tale operated illegally for a long time. Now its wings have been clipped. But the noise created by the marina will continue and to me it's far worse than listening to people talking, laughing, etc. (I don't have a problem with that noise because when I chose to move to my community, I knew a marina nearby would create noise.) Northport is a village but it's not residential only. Main Street is a perfect example of the residential/commercial mix, and so is 25A. Balance is what's important, and some of it has been restored. Now, what about those rumors about a Starbucks replacing the abandoned gas station next to the marina?
FYI January 22, 2012 at 03:25 PM
What are the annual taxes that Brittania pays to the village of Northport? Perhaps Betty may want to consider more than her myopic view of what this community should be. Milland Drive residents will NEVER be happy with any arrangement. Bunch of busybodies. And Starbucks...Yes! With a drive-thru. That should give the complainers a whole new list of problems to focus on. I've heard the abandoned gas station is a protected historic site or an Indian burial ground. :-))
kimberly Anderson January 22, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Milland Drive is tucked between busy 25A and a busy boat yard. Maybe they could stop cars from traveling down 25A or ruining their air quality with exhaust??? This goes deeper than just the "noise" from the marina. Read the history. Everybody wants something for nothing. It is like the old saying goes...... You can't move close to the airport and then complain about the noise from the planes flying over your head.
Merrick7 January 22, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Kimberly, I completely agree with the adage that is often applied to residents of Five Towns and Garden City who complain about the air planes flying low. The difference being it increases their property values in many ways. Several people prefer the idea of summering in Northport, Milland Drive Residents do not seem to realize they are within walking distance of the Marina. For those looking for a summer house in Northport their homes are the ideal location to walk to their boats and a restaurant
kimberly Anderson January 22, 2012 at 09:09 PM
No matter where you live this adage applies. If one purchases a home next to the church then one cannot be surprised when the bells ring for mass. If one purchases a home by the school, then one cannot complain that you hear children screaming during recess. You know what they say in real estate, "LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION." N'Prter is correct they will never be happy with any arrangement.
carole January 23, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Let's be fair, they purchased homes next to a boat yard where outdoor dining was not permitted.
kimberly Anderson January 23, 2012 at 04:28 AM
I think that my point is that while it is true that outdoor dining was not permitted then, you always have to take into consideration what might happen when you buy. Things change. In the future, the bells may chime louder, the school may have more children which makes play time louder, the marina may enlarge and become louder. It is a risk that you take. Nothing in life is a guarantee......look at eminent domain laws, the government can come and take your property at anytime. That being stated, I would be more concerned about rats around the dumpsters that are close to their street, than I would loud music.
John January 23, 2012 at 06:08 AM
love what Louise had to say. Key point is "...I knew a marina was nearby..." I actually made it a point to not visit or dine/drink at the facility unless I knew all was up to snuff legal and proper. Even though all of my friends had enjoyed the facility for a number of months. I've met the owner on a few occasions now. You'd be fooled to think he was the owner - a young and personable person. We had spoken each time on the condition and status of his livelihood. He never intended to be, nor does he want to be a bother to his neighbors. They're a young couple, leave them be to better themselves. One should never fault a person for trying to better their own situation. Congratulations to the Village Board and the attorneys for staying steady on course and writing an amicable agreement between all parties involved. I look forward to my first lunch at the Whale's Tale this comming spring.
FYI January 23, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Boat owners have always gathered at the marina to socialize. It's a standard practice for many to gather during the weekend evenings on many of the larger and smaller boats for cocktails, music and conversation. "Millanders" complain about that "noise", the sounds of people enjoying themselves as well. Plus those nasty fisherman, coming and going at all hours, running their engines, the smell of bait and fish. Isn't it odd that for all the complaints, waterfront property on Milland in view of the marina is still priced higher than surrounding properties? Does full disclosure require Millanders to advise prospective purchasers of their ongoing complaints and legal actions?
Old Fisherman January 23, 2012 at 04:57 PM
I always say if you move adjacent to a dump, don't complain about the odors. If you move adjacent to an airport. don't complain about the plane noise. Similarly with moving adjacent to a modern marina.

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